Why I Am Grateful to Work for an Employee-Owned Company

October is National ESOP month. I find myself reflecting on what an amazing benefit we enjoy at Palmer Group. The more I think about the many advantages, the more grateful I am to be a part of an employee-owned business.

History & Overview

In 2016 Austin Palmer announced the sale of Palmer Group to its employees.  At the time, I did not grasp exactly what that meant. What is an ESOP and what does it mean for my retirement? Through education, committee work, and continued conversations, I have come to learn what an exceptional privilege this is professionally and personally. Being employee-owned offers outstanding benefits for my co-workers, for me, and for my family.

ESOP stands for Employee Stock Ownership Plan. To create an ESOP, the owner of the company sells the business to the employees. Each year the employees earn shares depending on the specific plan tailored for that company. Money for these shares comes out of the profits of the business, which allows employees to earn money for their retirement: through their 401k and their ESOP. ESOP and 401k plans are funded differently. In a 401k, money is contributed from your paycheck to buy tax-deferred investments. For ESOPs, your shares are “free” in the fact you do not have to deduct anything from your paycheck. You simply earn shares by working for your employee-owned company. In short, ESOP earnings are like an incredible bonus to a 401k plan.


One significant way I have grown in my understanding of Palmer Group’s ESOP is by becoming part of their Employee Ownership committee. The committee is dedicated to educating and celebrating employee ownership and creating a positive ESOP culture. The  Employee Ownership team celebrates big in October. We play trivia games, create interactive videos, compete in Olympic games, and host a panel discussion with business leaders in the ESOP community. I love how Palmer Group has a committee that sets the pace for a positive company atmosphere by upholding our principles and values.

Another benefit of an ESOP company is the support they give their communities as well. Mr. Palmer could have sold the company to a corporate business, but he valued our people and community so much that he offered the company to us. This decision provides more stability to our city supplying more jobs and community involvement.

When a company becomes an ESOP, employees become more engaged; they have a renewed focus and drive to make the business successful. The more progress everyone makes, the higher the share price grows. When there is an increasing share price year after year, employees tend to stay motivated across the board. Everyone is invested in continuous improvement to treat customers and clients with the utmost respect while taking care of their internal team.

Without question, that is my favorite benefit of being part of an ESOP. We are a TEAM. Employee-owned companies create a family-like environment because this is our company. We can all lead from the seat we are in and help in any task needed. We deliver more than is expected because we are all in this together. Supporting one another in our professional and personal goals is in our DNA.

I am grateful to be part of the Palmer Group ESOP. If you would like to learn more about our ESOP journey or have any questions on this topic, please reach out to us at Palmer Group. We would love the opportunity to talk to you.

By: Katie Klohs